Europeans push back from Russian oil and gas

BERLIN - Europe is producing all-time highs of wind and solar energy as the 27-country group works to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels from Russia.

Four months after Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the European Commission launched REPowerEU. This campaign aims to:

  • Boost the use of renewable energy.
  • Reduce overall energy consumption.
  • Diversify energy sources.

EU countries were already moving toward renewable energy, but Russia’s war against Ukraine accelerated that trend. In 2022, for the first time, wind and solar power surpassed gas as a source of electricity. Wind and solar provided a record-breaking 22% of EU countries’ electrical supply, according to London-based energy think tank Ember.

“We have to double down on investments in home-grown renewables,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in October 2022. “Not only for the climate but also because the transition to the clean energy is the best way to gain independence and to have security of energy supply.”

Across the continent, growth in solar generation rose by 25% in 2022, according to Ember. Twenty EU countries produced their highest share of solar power in 2022. In October, Greece ran entirely on renewables for several hours and is seven years ahead of schedule for its 2030 solar capacity target.

By 2030, RePowerEU aims to provide more than 40% of the EU’s total power from renewables.

To meet the European Commission’s goal to cut EU energy usage by 15%, people and governments changed their habits and became more energy-efficient. Among their actions:

  • Germany turned down the heat in public buildings and lowered the cost of train tickets to reduce car usage.
  • Spain ordered stores and public buildings to turn off their lights at night.
  • France dimmed the Eiffel Tower and reduced city speed limits.

For the oil and gas that the EU still needed to import, countries turned to partners such as Norway and the United States.


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